The first in the “Chronicles of Miller’s Crossing,” Sleeping Dogs tells the story of a woman recovering from the unexpected death of her husband; a 36-year-old murder that may have resulted in the wrong person going to prison; and a church that is on the verge of tearing itself up over worship styles.
Chontos makes the three stories fit more than comfortably together.
Matty Amoruso has just returned to her home in Miller’s Crossing after three weeks with her daughter and son-in-law. She’s still reeling with the unexpected loss of her husband, retired pastor Joe. Small actions and small memories will trigger grief, and she’s struggling to keep one foot in front of another.
Sorting through Joe’s papers, she finds a red notebook, and some notes about a 36-year-old murder of a teenager. Joe had been meeting with the man convicted and imprisoned for the crime, and the notes suggest Joe believed the man to be innocent. Slowly, and over an extended period of time, Matty begins to look into what Joe may have found.
And Matty’s close neighbor and all-around busybody Willa Mae is not only forcing her way into Matty’s day-to-day life; Will Mae is also leading the charge against Joe’s successor at church, who has changed traditional worship to a more contemporary style. (And if you think that isn’t enough to murder someone all on its own, then you haven’t been to church in the last 20 years.)
Chontos is a writer and a frequent contributor to the devotional web site Laced with Grace.
Sleeping Dogs falls into the cozy mystery category – you won’t find violence, blood and gore, and general mayhem. But you will find a delightful story (actually, three delightful intertwined stories), one that is both warmhearted and moving.
Photograph by Paul Brennan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.